On this year’s Memorial Day let’s hope that most Americans take some time to pause, ponder and pay tribute to the heroic soldiers who died in battle serving America throughout our history.
More than one million American men and women have died in military service since the Civil War, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (infographic). Therefore, it’s incumbent upon citizens to remember the historic significance of this revered national holiday, rather than simply focusing on trips, beaches, barbecues and — least importantly — superficial retail sales.
It’s unfortunate that commercialism appears to be on equal par with so many U.S. national holidays.Yet when it comes to honoring our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, it’s distasteful to prostitute America’s love affair with money and shopping at the expense of loved ones lost.
In short, it’s disgraceful that such vacuous values have become more important to some people than the actual meaning of sacred national holidays honoring our military men and women.
This sets an especially bad example for our nation’s youth, particularly Generation Y (millennials). Many young people are already infatuated with the latest high-tech gadgets and materialism, arguably to the detriment of America’s fundamental core values.
Retailers Should Self-Regulate
Would it really be so terrible for retailers to self-regulate by ignoring the profit motive on Memorial Day? The federal government closes. State and local governments close. The U.S. stock exchange and Wall Street close.
- Why can’t the retail industry send an important message of patriotism by closing on Memorial Day?
It should be enough that many retailers begin their Memorial Day advertising and sales about a week in advance for shoppers. Thus how about closing shop and providing employees the day off to honor America’s fallen heroes?
This would allow more Americans to participate in Memorial Day parades and other holiday observances. Moreover, this would allow more Americans to remember all the brave members of the military lost in battle. Their valor, love of country and selfless service stand as timeless lessons for every generation.
Debt of Gratitude
We should never forget that all Americans owe a huge debt of gratitude to the U.S. Armed Forces on Memorial Day and every day. This is particularly true of all the war heroes who fought and died for America and the democratic ideals which we cherish.
“To those we lost, we owe a profound debt that can never be fully repaid. But we can honor the fallen by caring for their loved ones and keeping faith with our veterans and their fellow brothers and sisters in arms.”
Memorial Day is a time to remember and commemorate the tireless patriotism of service members who have perished on the field of battle. Memorial Day is a time to pay tribute to America’s fallen heroes for protecting and defending America’s democratic way of life.
But focusing too much time on spending sprees — and not enough time on solemn observance — only shows that some citizens take for granted the fundamental freedoms with which we are blessed as Americans.
Our soldiers did not pay the ultimate price on the battlefield so that Americans could pay less at shopping malls and car dealerships. That’s why private sector retailers should not put a premium on making money over the morals, values and principles we hold dear as a nation.
This is the very least the retail industry can do to honor all of the American warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields of history.
Also check out:
- Veterans Day: Fighting for America Means Not Having to Fight for Jobs (Nov. 2013)
- Tribute to U.S. Army on 238th Birthday (June 2013)
*** Note: All views and opinions are those of the author only and not official statements or endorsements of any public sector or private sector employer, organization or related entity.
David Grinberg is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.